April 12, 1930

From the Gods’ Hollow journal of Duncan Blood.

 

April 12, 1930.

I came upon an old structure today, one that I remember building alongside my father and my uncles.

It had once housed the weapons and foodstuffs of both the Bloods and the Coffins before the New World was ours. We had hidden there, during raids, hunkering down to defend ourselves against the attacks of our Native American neighbors when they grew tired of our company.

And I remember when the building vanished from the strip of land between Blood Farm and Coffin Farm. My father had been in it, putting away the new rifles purchased from a gunsmith in Pennsylvania.

We searched for years, hopeful that the building might reappear, and that my father might still be alive.

Stranger things have occurred, of course, but it was not meant to be. For decades and centuries passed. He and the building remained missing.

Standing near it, I felt a sense of dread. Would it be better to know what happened to my father, rather than continued wishful thinking?

I sat down and stared at the building, wondering where the roof had gone and what had occurred when it had vanished. Did my father fight, or was he slain upon arrival? Did he arrive?

Finally, as the sun slowly began to set, I stood up and walked away.

The boy within me needed the hope that his father was still alive.

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April 3, 1930

From the Gods’ Hollow journal of Duncan Blood.

April 3, 1930. I have brought the Colts with me. The pistols served me well for the entirety of the War of Secession, and on the rare occasions I have had need of them since Lee’s surrender.

I came upon Belle’s mansion, or what is left of it. Her home has been missing since before Lincoln was elected to office, and she was fortunate not to have been home when Cross claimed it as its own. Her brother, Axel, was not lucky, and so I entered the ruins of her home in search of his remains.

Instead, if found living beasts.

I can only assume that the creatures I encountered were the result of Belle’s missing brother having procreated with whatever fell beasts inhabit the place beyond Gods’ Hollow.

They were vaguely human and their voices were curiously pitched, the words unintelligible and difficult to bear as they clouded my thoughts. Their meanings became clear, however, when they attempted to take me prisoner.

I slew at least a score of them as I fought my way out of the ruins.

My hands ache and my body is numb. It has been years since I have killed so many at one time.

My ears still ring and I can still taste death in the air around me. Members of the Cross Militia have positioned themselves along the North Road to ensure the safety of the town.

I will allow no one else to enter Gods’ Hollow.

I fear that worse creatures await discovery.

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February 28, 1901

What do we know of madness?

This was a question that Dr. George Merrimac asked himself, and it was a question he valiantly sought to answer.

George was an accomplished psychologist, one whom many of his colleagues went to when dealing with particularly troublesome patients. In a time when hysteria was a common diagnosis for any woman who failed to fall in line with the standards of society, George was an outspoken opponent of such a diagnosis.

Thus, when George, a widower, retired at the age of 68 to Cross, it was unsurprising that he sought to help those who were tucked away in the maddening labyrinth of lunatic asylums and poor houses.

In an effort to determine how imprisonment affected the perception of reality, George purchased an old ‘coffin,’ a device used in Vienna, Austria to restrain lunatics.

He wrote a letter to Dr. Mitchell Anderson, a colleague in Boston, requesting that the man visit him at his home on 1st of March 1899. The letter contained explicit instructions on where to find a key to the home and, more importantly, the key Dr. Merrimac’s private study in the basement.

Dr. Anderson received the letter on the 27th of February 1901.

Curious as to why his friend wanted him to visit, and why he had left such detailed instructions, Dr. Anderson traveled to Cross on February 28, 1901. Once inside his friend’s home, Mitchell was disturbed by the dust on the furniture.

With a rising sense of panic, Mitchell descended the stairs to the private study, let himself in, and found the remains of Dr. Merrimac in the ‘coffin.’

When Mitchell managed to open the device, the remnants of George fell out, and two facts were painfully clear.

The first, Dr. Merrimack’s fingernails were embedded in the wood of the door.

And the second, the corpse’s teeth were ground to nubs.

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February 27, 1905

Vengeance is a bitter draught.

Axel St. Anselm was a man who felt himself wronged.

Life, as far as he was concerned, never did him a kindness. Not a single one. So, he treated the world in a like manner. He was a thief, a murder, and a rapist. What he wanted, he took.

In May of 1902, Axel attempted to take from Ms. Charlene Roi, the librarian at the Cross Social Library. Unfortunately for Axel, the librarian was far stronger than she looked, and the large book with which she struck him knocked him out. When he eventually awoke, he found himself in chains and awaiting transportation to prison.

Axel served three years and was released on February 27th, 1905, and made straight for Cross.

Over the years he had been able to learn where Charlene lived.

He had planned his revenge to the finest detail. Axel knew when he would strike, and how he would strike.

He knew Charlene lived in a small house with a sponsoring family. He understood that she went to bed early, and that on most nights the family she resided with spent their time in the parlor, playing charades.

Axel was a skilled criminal, and since there was little crime in Cross, he was not surprised to find the back door unlocked. The laughter of the family hid his nearly silent steps as he crept up to Charlene’s room.

Her bedroom was small and tucked away in the attic. Far from prying eyes and ears.

Axel was unarmed for he was a man who prided himself on his ability to kill without a weapon.

Charlene was armed, with a large revolver, and she shot him twice, creating a hole large enough for someone to put a fist in.

When her sponsors reached her, she was sitting on her bed, the fire in her small stove burning brightly, the flames devouring the letters she had sent to Axel, inviting him to visit.

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February 23, 1864

The world is far stranger than we think.

On February 23, 1864, at the First Battle of Dalton in Georgia, Sergeant Niles Angel of Cross, Massachusetts was wounded.

He was in the process of rallying his men when he was struck by numerous bullets, the soft, malleable lead tearing through him. When he was first brought to the field surgeon, it was believed that his left arm was the most grievous of his injuries and that he had lost far too much of it for the limb to be saved.

Still, the surgeon did his best. He cut away as much of the meat as he could, stitched it together when he was done and went in search of further injuries.

The surgeon found them.

More importantly, he found a wound that should have negated the good sergeant’s continued existence.

At least one of the bullets, the surgeon saw, had torn through Sergeant Angel’s heart.

The heart was not merely damaged but destroyed.

Most of that muscle was gone, and what remained was little more than shredded tissue.

Yet Sergeant Angel continued to live.

Lived and thrived.

He was sent home to convalesce, where his grievous injury was kept from everyone except his wife.

Following the conclusion of the war and Sergeant Angel’s mustering out, he worked as a porter for the Boston & Maine Railroad and fathered three children with his wife.

Sergeant Angel died at the age of 57 when a horse stove in the side of his head.

His children only learned of their father’s curious history when their mother died 40 years later, and they read her journal.

When they opened the family mausoleum to intern their mother, the children discovered their father’s tomb was empty and had been for some time.

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February 21, 1939

Where do nightmares come from?

 

Do they come from our thoughts and fears? Perhaps memories or experiences, both real and imagined, supply the fodder.

Or perhaps there is something far more sinister at work than base reality and chemistry.

On February 21, 1939, the citizens of Cross found a possible answer.

It came in the form of an abandoned building, one they had never seen before, and which sprang into existence on an island in Blood Lake.

Lead by Duncan Blood, a group of twenty men and women crossed the lake on foot, climbing up the steep sides of the island’s bank. Each was armed with a rifle and a handgun, and no one knew what to expect.

Cross, as they all knew, had a way of surprising everyone.

The building they explored did not disappoint them.

It had once housed a mail order business, although from what concurrent timeline they did not know. But what they discovered was that the business supplied nightmares. A sample catalog found in a foreman’s office listed nightmares from the mundane to the terrifying, ‘a nightmare for every price range,’ as the advertisement went.

Children could buy nightmares to terrorize classmates and peers. Adults could assail their enemies with sleepless nights and thoughts of suicide.

Deep within the storerooms of the business, the group from Cross found some of the nightmares. These boxed terrors were carried outside and burned, and upon the group’s return, the town kept watch on the building.

The abandoned business remains, and somehow nightmares continue to appear in their neat, cellophane wrapped boxes.

Not all the nightmares are destroyed, and not all who suffer from them survive.

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February 19, 1937

When the dead speak, do we listen?

Professor Lee Russell of the Cross Branch of Miskatonic University offered this question to the University’s board in early 1936. After some consideration, the school decided that it was a valid concern, and they offered him a position as an instructor/researcher with a focus on calls from the dead.

Over the course of nearly a year, Professor Russell designed, adapted, and built a large telephone switchboard in the hopes of hearing the dead. This was not done out of some starry-eyed naivete, but out of genuine concern that the dead might wish to impart some information to the living.

On February 19, 1937, Professor Russell connected his switchboard to the University’s and waited.

Within less than an hour, he received his first phone call, one that was documented and recorded. It was a call from Malcolm Berkley, who killed himself in Gods’ Hollow in 1936. He beseeched Professor Russell to tear down the tower.

The second call came from Kimberly Bierce, who vanished along with her friends in 1898. She begged for directions home.

After that, the calls came in, far too fast for the Professor to answer, although he did his best.

Later that day, Professor Russell brought in three students to assist with the calls.

To this day, there are four people who man the phone lines. After a group suicide of operators in 1988, no one is allowed to work for more than one week at a time at the switchboard. Those who go back for a second rotation carry themselves with pride.

It is not easy to listen to the dead, or to hear what waits in the darkness of death.

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